I’ve Gotta Be Me

Mr. Peacock says that’s my song, and I hate to admit, but dang if he ain’t right. I DO gotta be me. It’s always been that way. Just ask my mom. She’ll tell you stories about the creative, inquisitive, frustratingly hyper ball of blond curls that bounced around her house for 18 years, before I shot off into orbit on my own.

Now I’m staring down 40, and looking forward to it. 255 days to go. Here I’d normally offer you Gore Vidal’s famous quote on women over 40, but that strikes me as a misogynistic load of tripe this morning, so I’ll offer you an amended quote: Women aren’t even allowed to be interesting until they’re 40.

This is what I’m thinking as I sit on the porch here at what my daughter refers to as “The Slytherin Dorms,” and what I call The Borden Homestead. The wind is blowing and the sun is shining. The grass is getting way too tall because of the warmth and wetness, and there is nothing I can do about. The tractor doesn’t get delivered until Wednesday. Did I tell you we bought a tractor? Had to. I’m not push-mowing an entire acre.

As I sit here I can hear the crowd cheer as the local high school begins its softball season. It’s right up the street on this state road where I live. I’m living out the modern American Story right now. I’m recently unemployed and financially insecure (don’t worry; we’re doing okay). I’ve been a metropolitan girl my whole life, but now I live in a town that doesn’t have a single stop light, in a house that Mr. Peacock’s family has owned for 55 years, just down the hill from his parent’s house. They’ve lived in their house for 30 years.

I went to four different schools in the fourth grade. I am completely out of my element.

As regular readers know, my family moved in with my husband’s grandfather last July. We’ll be his care-takers from then on out. My husband has been taking care of him while I worked, but now that I’ve lost my job, I’ll be assuming that responsibility while he goes back to work. It’s our goal to keep him home as long as we can, hopefully to the end. Mr. Peacock is a nurse, so we have more options than most families.

Grandpa is 85 years and vital. Probably because of my inexperience with rural folk, he may be the most interesting person I’ve ever met. He may be the way they make ’em out here in the boonies, and I just wouldn’t know it. Grandpa grew up here in Borden, the last of six children, plus two half-siblings. He was a Marine in WWII. He came home from that and married the prettiest girl he could find and settled into a job as the Postmaster of Borden. It’s been neat getting a closer look at my husband’s family through the unshakable memory of his grandfather.

The man remembers everything. Everything. He can’t work the new microwave because it doesn’t have the same buttons that the microwave he had for 25 years did, but he will never forget the time he was 10 and jumped right in the pile of dirt his sister Ginny had collected with the broom in the front room of their 6-room house. He had to dive out the window to escape her wrath. His goal in life is to beat her. She was the oldest living sibling, making it to age 92. I’ll do what I can to see he makes it.

I’m settling into my new work of caring for grandpa and trying to kick-start a writing career. That’s my focus now. I’m sure I’ll bring you more stories of Grandpa and my life out here at The Homestead. I figured I owed my readers an update after the chaos of almost losing me. I appreciate the readership here more than you know, and I hope you like the direction I’ll be taking this blog as I figure out my next moves in life. I’ll figure it out someway, ’cause I’ve gotta be me.


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